As “awesome” as a me against all comers dynamic might be 😏a lot of the fun of AoS comes from experiencing a variety of different play styles. Sure, we could get some of this from changing up the armies more often but realistically this diversity best comes from playing against a variety of different opponents, each with their own playing personality.
To achieve this we had to test “concierge” play. Would the gaming Cage work with two remote players and myself as a 3rd party moving all the models?
We tested this with a 1K match between Beasts of Chaos & Nurgle playing the GH18 version of Shifting Objectives. (The North-South orientation works better on our board than the East-West orientation in recent GHs.) Kept the terrain relatively simple with one objective kind of boxed in by some mountains and forests with the majority of the board an open plane.
If asking asking for clarification was key when it was me vs a remote player with two remote players it became absolutely vital. With a lot of Ambushing and Summoning making sure stuff was coming onto the table the way the player intended was key. This was compounded by there being a lot more models on the table than any game we’d previously played. This significantly upped the difficulty of things such as pile ins. The most obvious result of this combination of factors was that while we had been getting through 4-5 rounds in 2.5-3 hours pretty consistently in our BCR vs Nurgle Escalation League, despite higher points, we were well past the 3 hour mark when we called it we’d just rolled for the primary objective to start the 4th round. Based on where it fell it was hard for one if the players to find a path to victory.
Anyway game kicked off with a 4 making the center objective the primary objective. BoC went first and ran their Bestigors onto the primary objective and then ambushed Bullgors onto the Southern objective and more Bestigors and the Beastlord onto the Northern. In their own movement phase Nurgle would advance towards the middle and the Slime Fleet would land in enemy territory capable of threatening both units of Bullgors.
Failed charges would mean not as many Nurgle units would get into combat R1.2 but in the South and the Center Battle was joined.
Both conflicts would go reasonably well for Nurgle leaving them with an advantage re:those objectives they sustain the next two rounds. Which ended up being big as in both R2, R3 and R4 despite the promise of the Battleplan’s title, the primary objective did not move on a rolls of 4,4,3... (For Ss& Gs we did a proxy roll for R5 and it finally landed in the North). Thus even though BoC was able to establish dominance in the North on their next turn they would be having to find ways to get enough units with enough punch to the middle the rest of the game.
Nurgle would summon Plaguebearers to screen one of the passes and threaten the Shaman and Bullgors in the East with the freed up Southern units.
BoC nonetheless would force the fight in the middle. Ultimately though they lacked enough punch to get the job done..
With a significant VP lead at the end of R3 for Nurgle, and Nurgle winning initiative meaning they’d rack up more before BoC could try any last minute Hail Mary BoC conceded.
The positive takeaway is that “concierge” games are viable which means that we can consider a broader Escalation League, one-off matches when an infrequent player can drop in, or even a mini tournament.
Another takeaway (reconfirmed with a second BoC game last night) though is that Elite builds are far more robust and scalable in this dynamic. Honestly can’t imagine trying to get 2K worth of BoC around the table (plus Summoning) in anything resembling a timely manner. So as we look to “next steps” we are zeroing in on an Elite Meta. Still ironing out the details but in the interim we’ve got two more games scheduled this week. The first is the 1.75K game in the BCR vs Nurgle Escalation. The second is another 1K BoC exhibition match, against a Bloodgullet list this time.